Retired principal, Mrs Jenny Yeo, shares her experience of working with supportive parents, and the benefits yielded from successful partnerships.
“In your 41 years of service as an educator, have you met parents who are supportive partners in your schools?” a friend asked.
My thoughts immediately went to the encouraging letter from a student’s parents:
“We write to thank you for Melissa's+ six years at your school. It ended on a high note in year 2009 when she broke the school’s PSLE records…she attributed her outstanding results to all her beloved school teachers…The encouragement that Melissa received from your dedicated teachers have made her believe in herself and spurred her to challenge her own limitations again and again…More than anything else, we would like to thank you for the fun that Melissa had during her time at your school…Your school is a holistic neighbourhood school focused on making each heartland child a dazzling diamond…”
I felt encouraged and affirmed that the school was on the right track. It reinforced my belief that I was touching young lives and making a difference! But I was also mindful of their unstinting support that played a big part. They had full confidence in the teachers, provided constructive feedback, supervised Melissa’s homework and came for “Meet the Parents” sessions to work closely with the teachers.
At MOE’s Work Plan Seminar (WPS) 2014, Minister Heng Swee Keat emphasised the important role of supportive parents.
If a teacher has touched your heart with his or her dedication and passion, how about showing your appreciation through a note or by saying a word of thanks? This will go a long way in cheering teachers and school leaders on. It motivates them to do better in their task of developing the full potential of a student. When providing constructive feedback, use the right tone and approach, focus on the problem rather than the person, and solve it together as partners.
Teachers hope that parents will trust them and believe that they want the best for their students. Parents can support teachers in these ways:
- Spending quality time with children
Talking to your children makes you aware of what they are experiencing in school and better able to support the teachers.
- Reading to or with children
Reading is proven method of learning, so developing a love and habit of reading will help them learn.
- Supervising their studies
If children are in primary school, support the teachers by ensuring that they do their part at home, such as learning their spelling or multiplication tables.
- Monitoring their character development
Support the school’s holistic approach by encouraging your children to participate in co-curricular activities (CCAs). Make sure they do their part, such as practising music instruments if they are in the Band or Chinese Orchestra.
- Being part of the Parent Support Groups (PSGs)
By doing so, you will go beyond supporting your own child and contribute to a larger group of pupils in the school. Parent volunteers also have the opportunity of building rapport with teachers
South View Primary School benefitted from a strong partnership with the PSG. For example, working with Tamil teachers, the parents organised cultural events and learning journeys to share about Indian dance and music, reinforcing students’ learning and piquing their interest in the language. Parent volunteers and teachers also started the Football CCA. Despite not having a professional coach, the team clinched the title of National Soccer Champion within three years! It is testament to what we can achieve with strong support from a PSG.
We are all here to build the next generation. Parents and schools are key building blocks, so let us work hand in hand, strengthen this partnership and support each other as we help our children to be confident and useful citizens of tomorrow!
+Names have been changed to protect the identity of the students